Spur spends a lot of time talking to our customers about their market differentiators or competitive advantage and how to engage customers on an individual level. In a great post on Seth Godin’s blog called, “Your Competitive Advantage,” he talks about how competitive advantage is created and how we view it to make choices. As everyone in sales knows people are fickle and humans don’t very often make choices based on rational thinking and cost/benefit analysis. (Dan Ariely’s done a wonderful job of dissecting this idea in his book Predictably Irrational. It’s well worth the read if you want to get into this a little deeper.) Seth Godin’s post identifies four key points in determining how we really make choices and how we create competitive advantage. To paraphrase, they are:
Matter to Me: All I really care about is what matter’s to me as an individual.
Worldview: I choose based on my view of world, the truth as I see it.
Options I’m aware of: I need to know about your product to choose it.
Switching cost: What is my cost to change whether monetary, emotional, or social? Is your offer really worth it to me?
The post then offers different ways for companies to build competitive advantage: lowering costs, developing hard to replicate talents, increasing speed, etc. This is great stuff! Once again, Seth Godin is absolutely right. This is how companies develop competitive advantage and how customers make choices about your competitive advantage. But it doesn’t solve the problem.
If you look at the list of how we make choices the common denominator is ‘me the customer’ — the ever-unique individual and irrational filter of reality. Selling your competitive advantage to several million different filters is the real problem. They all see it differently. So, suddenly, your competitive advantage isn’t so much of a differentiator unless you can filter it through each customer’s worldview.
This is where 1:1 multi-channel marketing excels. Using customer insight and data to drive content changes in your email, online, and direct marketing enables you to modify how you frame your competitive advantage for each customer. It’s no longer necessary, or obviously desirable, to have a one size fits all approach to your marketing messages. By addressing each individual’s frame of reference you can show that you listen and understand his or her unique circumstances.
It also opens the door for you to ask questions and learn more about them. By creating this open, dynamic dialog, you can build a story around each individual that includes your company as part of their worldview. Your customers want to be heard. You want to be heard. Create a dialogue, the ROI is amazing.
David Svet, CEO